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Doc Rivers challenges Sen. Josh Hawley over criticism as Clippers stand together

Broderick Turner, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

The Clippers' video conference Saturday began with Lou Williams saying his trepidation about restarting the season during the national protest for social justice, which once had him feeling "50-50" about rejoining the team, was put at ease when his teammates voted they "were going to come as a group."

It ended with a powerful message from Coach Doc Rivers directed at Sen. Josh Hawley (R -- Missouri), who was critical of the NBA's choices in allowing social justice messages on players' jerseys and "Black Lives Matters" to be painted on the courts for games.

Hawley wrote a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Friday stating that the league had "crossed the line of sanctioning specific political messages." He questioned why the list of approved messages didn't include "Back the Blue" or "Support Our Troops."

Rivers took umbrage with that.

"There's no league that does more for the military than the NBA," Rivers said. "But how about that, Senator? I'll make a challenge: We will do things for the troops as long as he acknowledges #BlackLivesMatter. I think that would be really cool for him to do.

"You know, it's funny, whenever we talk about justice, people try to change the message. Colin Kaepernick kneels ... . It had to do with social injustice, and everyone tried to change the narrative. How about staying on what we are talking about and dealing with that instead of trying to trick us or change or trick your constituents? How about being real?

 

"I guarantee you we've done more for the military than probably that Senator. And I guarantee you this: We also are going to do things for #BlackLivesMatter. How about him? Maybe he should join into that."

Rivers said star forward Kawhi Leonard arrived in Orlando on Friday night and would be in the 36-hour quarantine protocol before he can begin practice on the Walt Disney World Resort campus.

Leonard soon will join the rest of his teammates, including Williams, who had reservations about the restart.

The veteran sixth man has been an advocate for social reform, even pledging $25,000 toward bonds for Atlanta protesters in May.

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